There Is a Flash Project Now Too I Guess: Episode 1.01, “Pilot”
|November 10, 2014||Posted by Jess under Comics, Television, There Is a Flash Project Now Too I Guess|
“To understand what I’m about to tell you, you need to do something first: you need to believe in the impossible.” And so we begin the first episode of Flash, a show which is 50% pure joy straight to the jugular, 50% incredibly stupid dialogue.
I’m not going to be recapping the show fully because I need my wrists to keep working and also I don’t have time to recap three dumb superhero shows and still, like, earn money to live and stuff. So capsule reviews it is!
Let’s start with the pilot, which I really loved, even though like I said, so much of the dialogue is painfully obvious while also not really making any sense. Like Barry’s mom telling him that “sometimes it’s better to have a good heart than fast legs”? Nora, what, what does that mean, why would you say that to anyone who isn’t going to grow up to be the Flash. I’d say we should have a drinking game where you take a shot every time someone contrives the words “fast” or “run” into a sentence, but I want you guys to live. (It gets much worse in later episodes that are more Rogue of the Week, when Johns can really indulge in his beloved half-puns and Characters Just Saying How They Feel.)
Two things save the show. First, there’s the the tone. It’s exuberant and joyful and completely embraces being a silly show about superheroes. It opens with a giddy voiceover as Barry pingpongs around the city! People smile and most scenes happen in daylight! BARRY UNRAVELS A TORNADO BY RUNNING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION! DC’s been so embarrassed by themselves for years now (I blame Nolan) and this show just feels like a celebration. Ninety percent of it makes no sense but who fucking cares? He’s the fastest man alive!
The other thing, and possibly even more important, is Grant Gustin. The whole cast is good – Jesse L. Martin and Tom Cavanagh are particularly great – but Grant Gustin is basically the most adorable precious ray of sunshine that has ever graced my laptop screen. First off, he’s got way more raw acting talent than, say, Amell – the scene in Starling City makes that painfully clear – and second, he’s clearly so completely, 100% giddy in love with the part and the show and superheroes, and that joy shines through so brightly. I mean, we’re talking about a guy with a Superman tattoo, who wore a Superman shirt AND SOCKS to SDCC this year, who wore a Superman CAPE on The View. He is a BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS NERD. And he brings that sweet earnestness the role needs, that genuine sense that Barry wants to do good just for the sake of doing good. Without Gustin (who, P.S., I desperately want to be best friends and talk about musicals and superheroes and what musical is each superhero’s favorite with SO BAD) this show would probably be completely dead in the water.
Let’s see, what else?
Like I said, Cavanagh is great as Harrison Wells – truly creepy and mysterious. It’s not clear whether he wants to kill Barry, use him to destroy the world, or just smell his hair for a while, but whatever it is, it’s Off in a big way and I’m really, really interested to see how it plays out. (And the stinger, hinting at the Crisis, is AMAZING and OH MY GOD TELL ME MORE I NEED TO KNOW AHHHH I’M SUCH A NERD.) I love Danielle Panabaker but she isn’t given much to do in the pilot (though I did really enjoy her shutting down Barry’s little microaggression about how she doesn’t “smile much,” fuck you, dude, her job isn’t to smile for you on command).
Jesse L. Martin is also, as established, pretty great, which is good because his character is saddled with a lot of inconsistent awful nonsense and jerkitude. (Also they’ve changed his name from Ira to Joe and his profession from professor to cop for this show, which is fine. At least Ira to Joe for a hardboiled cop makes more sense than Larry to Quentin.
Most of that jerkitude revolves around Iris, who sadly is the show’s weak point the way Laurel was the weak point for the first season of Arrow. It’s not Candice Patton’s fault, she’s adorable…but the character has been written for the sole purpose of being a love interest. They’ve taken away Iris’s career as a journalist to make her a grad student in…something, so she has no driving interest of her own. She’s so oblivious to Barry’s attempts to ask her out that she comes off as actively stupid at times. Her relationship with Eddie Thawne is clearly only to make Barry and Joe feel things, because he has absolutely no personality to speak of so what is she attracted to?
Equally if not even more frustrating is the completely ridiculous degree to which Joe overprotects her. When he’s screaming at her and Barry because they nearly got hit by a car…for walking on the sidewalk near her job? “How dare you be in a public place doing a normal thing!” Which is immediately followed by the exposition that she wanted to be a cop but he wouldn’t “let” her, because I guess that’s his decision? And then him making Barry promise not to tell her about his powers making her and Eddie literally the only two characters on the show who don’t know Barry is the Flash? It’s frustrating enough watching Thea be lied to and infantilized over on Arrow until she LITERALLY BECAME A SUPERVILLAIN. Treat Iris like the fucking adult she is.
Mardon is awful, which I can tell you now, having seen the next three episodes, is kicking off a proud tradition of having 90% of the villains, incidentals, and kids on this show be godawful actors. It’s actually really funny.
John Wesley Shipp is the most delightful casting possible for Barry’s dad, it makes me so happy.
And the Easter eggs! So many wonderful references! Gambi Cleaners! Ferris Aircraft! Grodd’s cage! If Grant Gustin actually fights a super smart gorilla on this show I will know that the rapture has come and I have ascended. Also, if Jesse L. Martin and Grant Gustin don’t have a duet at some point on this show, I will not be held responsible for my actions. (Actually, just do this.)
My favorite scene, though, was the one with Ollie. Again, Amell’s acting weaknesses are pretty obvious in it, but. But. When they watch each other go and say, “Cool”? So cheesy and yet so exactly what I’ve always wanted, because ALL I WANT IS SUPERHERO FRIENDS CROSSING OVER AND BEING FRIENDS, AND ALSO SUPERHEROES, AND ALSO FRIENDS. AHHHHHHHH.
In conclusion, CW PLEASE MAKE S.T.A.R. LABS T-SHIRTS, I WILL WEAR ONE EVERY DAY.